1. Right from the start, look for quick wins, and do your best to achieve them. You have to find something you can do as soon as possible to show some quick positive results. This will lower the pressure you feel and help you get more confident. Also, it is important to secure these early wins because they help to build your momentum and establish your credibility. But make sure you know how your new company defines a win. Whenever possible, it is also important to choose a victory that will be important to your boss.
2. Behave as if you are still being interviewed
Different workplaces have different practices when it comes to probationary periods. Some use this time to provide you with extra training and support from a mentor, and, of course, to ensure you’re up to the job. Think of your first few weeks as an extended interview. Show up every day thinking you need to prove you deserved to be hired. You'll work harder, work smarter, won’t take anything for granted, and in a short time you will confirm your level.
3. Start demonstrating and documenting what you promised on your resume
Whatever you sold them during the interview, your mission is to demonstrate that you are really going to do it. For example, if you said you were a computer security expert, first check that their website has no basic vulnerabilities. And take notes on your accomplishments, your main contributions, and the positive comments you receive. This information will be useful during future performance reviews and salary negotiations.
4. Understand your goals
In the first few weeks, make sure you understand why you were hired and what your goals are for the coming months. This can help guide your efforts in the coming weeks.
Work with your boss. Schedule a meeting with your boss as soon as possible and tell him that you would like to produce an exceptional job. Ask him: "How can I help you? What can I do to exceed your expectations?" Use this initial meeting to establish what success would look like in the first period. It is possible to start a new job without knowing precisely the objectives that directors expect, but it is wise to enquire, while taking into account one's strengths and limitations.
5. Write your knowledge base
Setting good habits and getting organised from the start will make your life easier down the line, especially since a lot of new information is coming your way. Do not rely on your memory to retain everything in the long run. Create a new file from the software you would feel most comfortable with from the first day and use it as a journal for the large amount of information that you will certainly receive at the beginning, which will increase over time, and which will certainly become useful to gather your observations, your ideas and questions. Add keywords to facilitate future searches. Organise information by sections, subject, areas of activity, think about "how to use this information in the future" or "why would I look for it?". Describe what each division does, which is responsible for what, the acronyms used within the company. Draw processes and hierarchical diagrams. Soon it will be your working documentation, a bit like a wiki of everything you know about your work and the related subjects.
6. Get to know your team
After surviving the first day in your new position, your next task is to make sure you become a valuable member of the team. Try to find out how long each team member has been in the business, what they do, what positions they have occupied, where they have worked in the past and what is the hierarchy. You should approach these questions subtly, trying to slip them into a general conversation rather than throwing a ton of questions at them at once.
Take the initiative to introduce yourself. If the pace of work is accelerated, they probably won't have time to come to you. Start with your team, the people you work with directly. It is also in their interest that you take a good start, since your work will directly affect theirs.
7. Manage expectations
Essentially, what to avoid is to create too many expectations. Be realistic about what you could achieve, especially in the first few months. Do not expect constructive comments to come to you spontaneously. Sometimes people do not communicate expectations clearly (you have to ask directly, clarify, ask again).
8. Trust yourself to execute and develop the new skills you need
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you start a new job, and you might be worried about not performing as expected. But remember this: those who hired you knew what they were doing. They want you and only you: remember that they have specifically picked you among many other candidates. Your approach may be different, but the company could change and grow richer, it's ok to bring in your special skills and attributes.
In order to get started with acquiring more skills in your new role, create a learning plan by listing the skills you will need for this position and identifying any improvements that may be required. Learning these new skills should be your goal during your first few months.
Find people to help, volunteer to help in an area where you would like to improve. Do not hesitate to ask for help. If you do not know how or where find the information you need, you might lose time if you look for it yourself. Get in touch with the colleague or team that specialises in that area.
9. Study the strategy behind your efforts
Consider your current tasks as a piece in a puzzle you have to solve and build, with your team. Think about how you could take advantage of your current responsibilities. Think about the skills you could learn, the visibility you could acquire, the contacts you could create. Every task, every project and every job can lead to other opportunities.
10. Find a way to differentiate yourself
Work hard to be known for something specific (specialist of a technology or domain). Could you be known as the one who answers the fastest or who is always ready to offer help?
Choose a valuable mission that truly benefits the company and other employees, and strive to excel at this mission.
It is important to be seen doing these things. Do not hide your talents and contributions, and remember that business is not a place for false modesty.
11. Reinforce your connections on social networks
Once you're officially in the role, it's important to update your title on your own social media platforms and start following your new company and colleagues. When you meet new people, reinforce relationships by finding them on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Stay in touch with your former colleagues. This may seem contradictory, but the first week of a new job is the perfect time to contact colleagues from your previous companies. Get back to them and ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. The best time to get referrals is when you are not looking for work.
12. Never forget why you were hired : to help advance the goals and mission of the company.
What is your job, really? Your job is to make your boss’s job easier, to help your boss succeed. Always keep this in mind, even if it is not written in the job description. It is possible to achieve both your goals and those of the company, that's what you should do.
See your boss as a person you help, not as someone who tells you what to do. The more you help them achieve their goals, the more you will be valued. Moreover, you will see that it is easier to work hard when you know that you are helping someone (rather than obeying him). And you'll enjoy your work even more. It's much more fun and rewarding to help than to comply with the instructions.